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Monday, September 22, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
Clockwise, from left, Frank Lavardera, vice president of CHA; Kurt A. Kress, PE, capital facilities regional manager for The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; John Dimura, trails director for the NYS Canal Corporation; Fort Plain DPW Superintendent George Capece; Jason Penge, senior park engineer for the The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and Ryan Henderson, project structural engineer for CHA. 

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Bike path bridge project outlined

Monday, January 13, 2014 - Updated: 9:56 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Monday morning, Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton and Department of Public Works Superintendent George Capece met with officials from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Clough, Harbour and Associates, and the New York State Canal Corporation to discuss plans for the installation of a pre-fabricated bridge across the bike path in downtown Fort Plain.

The bridge will replace the flood-destroyed former railroad bridge behind Save-A-Lot. The structure design process, by Clough, Harbour and Associates, is expected to take about a month, meaning that the project will likely go out to bid this spring. If everything goes according to plan, construction, which will take numerous weeks, will begin sometime in the late summer or early fall.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will fund the project. At this time, organization officials are unable to formulate an estimated project cost.

In the June 28 flood, an abutment failure at the former railroad bridge caused the structure's collapse. The east abutment washed out, forcing the New York State Department of Transportation, through emergency contract, to remove the structure's eastern span.

The original bridge was constructed on a timber mat, then built up with stone masonry, designed for the passage of freight trains. The new structure will feature a lighter truss, likely made of weathering steel, founded on steel piles. Concrete abutments will be implanted into the bedrock 44 beneath the earth's surface.

The bridge will likely feature a wood surface, which officials said would require protection from snowmobile users, who utilize the path in the winter. It was noted that snowmobile organizations are usually required, as part of a usage contract, to install mats to protect wooden surfaces.

Capece asked, referring to the railroad bridge's decimation by flood waters, "what can we do to prevent that from happening again?"

Kurt A. Kress, PE, capital facilities regional manager for The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, responded that his organization is "simply putting back a trailway bridge." He commented, "we're in the flood plane of the Mohawk. It's going to flood again. It's just a question of when."

Capece wondered whether the The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation would work on a berm (originally constructed stretching into the stream channel) in the bridge's vicinity, which was also washed away, decreasing protection to the western side of the bridge. 

Kress said, "on the western side, we do have some major concerns," though he said that his organization doesn't own the property the berm is located on, just upstream of the bridge, and therefore cannot do work there.

Currently, the portion of the bike path where the railroad bridge was located is impassable, though the seasonal trail has remained open with detours leading users to roadways.

     

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